Report #1 Basic Schools Initiative September 2016
Gospel Refuge, Sylvia Foote, Amy Bailey, Arnold Road, St Johns Basic School, Sandy Park Basic, Sandhurst Basic, St Annes Basic, Mission Hall and Chetolah Park Basic.
The new schools are all on board and are in full stride. It is interesting to note that the reputation of the Basic School Initiative is out in the public space, all the schools seem to be aware of it and all are desirous of having it in their institution. The reaction of all the principals upon hearing that we were coming to their school was very religious and words of praise went up into the air.
Thank you Jesus, Thank you Father God was the standard response. There is a serious craving for positive programs in the schools and we surely fit the bill. It seems that our reputation for addressing glaring deficiencies and behaviour modification precedes us. Many schools are envious of the schools that have our program and many approach us wanting to know how to get involved in the program. With the new schools, we are obviously starting from scratch. There will be a period of adjustment as these children are not used to the type of discipline and order that we bring to the table. Neither are the Principals not to mention the parents. So, everyone needs time to adjust. We on the other hand also need time to make an impact on the young minds.
As expected, many parents have an issue with signing the waiver forms, but, as they look on and see other children participating and improving in the new sport, they will come around. The new students all seem eager to engage with the sport even if the medicine of discipline is strong. Of course, they struggle with the instructions and have problems even with the most basic instructions. Some are already beginning to show improvement and we are sure that we will reap success with the new schools. As instructed, we will no longer send the reports to Tennis Jamaica. We will also make the adjustments set out in your new schedule and our invoice will reflect that.
We will, however, continue to give the same hours to the schools as before with the exception of ST Anne’s. We will do four hours instead of the proposed three. We are dedicated to the best interests of the children and so we will make this our contribution to the cause. We also have also launched two initiatives. At the end of each term we will crown a student the MVP for the school for that term. We will also have mini tournament within each school at the end of each term. We trust that these activities will have a positive impact on the children as well as the program.
St. John's: We have gotten off to a good start at St. John’s; kids are excited about the program being continued. The teacher support continues to be fair; they ensure that the students are organized and sent out on time, however, they are not physically involved. We continue to aim at developing the kids holistically, focusing on helping them to develop technical skills as well critical thinking which is severely lacking. Discipline remains as an integral part of our program and the children are trying to make the adjustments. The youngest players still find it hard to deal with sun but overtime we hope that they will adapt.
Arnold Rd: Now that the older set of players have graduated, there is a gap that has to be filled as the groups below were at a much lower level than the graduates, The intermediate group is still challenged but the youngest group is showing more potential. We will continue to monitor the progress. What we have discovered is that they more than any other school need breaks in order to reset their focus.
Sylvia Foote: There is definitely a marked improvement. This is natural, as over time things will begin to take hold. Several players are now showing a better understanding of the skills we are trying to impart. In time, we will see some good players emerging from Sylvia Foote. There is also an improved reaction on the part of the school towards the program.
Sandy Park: Just like Sylvia Foote, there are concrete signs of improvement; the school has always been supportive of the program. It is the students who are challenged and have taken time to make the adjustments. We are now seeing the results of our efforts over time.
Gospel Refuge: The staff here were excited and relieved to have the program back. The teachers continue to be supportive and Ms. Chevances continues to be very hands-on which is very helpful and as result the children are progressing a lot faster. The oldest set of players are coming on nicely; the majority of them show a greater understanding then any of the groups before them which is a result of the impact of the program on the lives of these children. The younger players have some adjusting to do but overtime we know they will improve.
Amy Bailey: Changes in personnel and PE day for the new year has resulted in administration issues such as punctuality and lack of proper PE attire. Teacher support is fair. This is expected to improve as Mrs. Pitterson will coordinate the sessions. Many students gave satisfactory effort. The primary reasons for challenges, as experienced at the start of a new year here and elsewhere were; inability to listen to and follow instructions, a lack of focus and general cognitive development, and being unaccustomed to structure and general discipline. We are however, optimistic that this will change as this school has a legacy of producing quality starter players. So we expect improvement over time.
Mission Hall: This school is elated to have the program and administrated same at the highest level. Principal and teachers were 'hands on' and this fostered punctuality, sound discipline and motivation. Students were appropriately attired. Those without PE outfit were seated neatly and allowed to observe the activities. Several students gave excellent effort and performed outstandingly. Most of the other students gave good effort, and performed satisfactorily. The overall successful performance is impacted by the students understanding and execution of instructions. Over time this school will definitely be among the top performers.
Sandhurst: The program was administered well by the principal and teachers in terms of student punctuality and wearing of appropriate clothing. No teacher was able to observe the activities as the entire class does not attend at this time. The teachers conducted class sessions with the students whose parents did not submit a completed waiver form. Although most students gave satisfactory effort, approximately 70% of them struggled. The primary reasons are similar to those experienced at other schools; failure to listen to and follow instructions, lack of focus and general cognitive development, and being unaccustomed to structure and general discipline. Most of the remaining 30% gave good effort and performed excellently. Our experience has shown that in spite of the challenges, the standards and methodology of the program will have a positive impact at this school over time.
St. Anne's: The principal and teachers are elated to have the program at this school. Efforts were made to foster smooth operation. Class size and time table schedules did not allow for teacher involvement. However, principal and staff observed when they could. Many students were challenged by the remedial activities; however, several of them are improving. The primary reasons for being challenged, as experienced elsewhere, were; inability to listen to and follow instructions, lack of focus and general cognitive development, and being unaccustomed to structure and general discipline. In spite of the challenges, the standards and methodology of the program, over time, will guarantee improvement at this school.
Chetolah Park: The reception at Chetolah Park was most enthusiastic as clearly a school that has never had anything of this nature would be. Not to mention that they are aware that the school just across the road has the program. We have been approached several times as to how they could access the program. As to be expected, the children are not used to the type of structure that we bring to the table. The teacher support is good and they help to ensure the attention of the students. The classes are all held indoors; the school has a huge building that is mostly unused. So, a room was made available for the tennis classes. We expect that in time we will have a good group of students playing tennis coming out of this school.
Over all, the program has gotten off to a great start, all schools are up and running and we look forward to continued success with the development of the children in the program. This initiative is impacting the lives of these students and their institutions in many critical ways that we hope will stay with them for the rest of their lives. It is my hope that this report was informative and that the services provided met with your satisfaction. Please contact me if there is any area that needs further explanation. An Invoice accompanies this report.
Evan Williams, Godfrey Gregory, Valencia White, Raymond Henry, John Lewis, Dale Jackson